DFAC re-opening showcases food transformation
By Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons, 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 08, 2016
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
After months of anticipation, Air Commandos from across the 27th Special Operations Wing were invited by members of the 27th Special Operations Force Support Squadron to behold a new era in food services at Cannon.
Doors officially opened March 3 to the newly-renovated Pecos Trail Dining Facility – now restructured and designed as part of the Air Force Food Transformation Initiative.
“I want to first thank everyone for coming out today to witness first-hand the unveiling of this world-class facility,” said Col. Doug Gilpin, 27th Special Operations Mission Support Group commander. “We pride ourselves at Cannon in executing specialized airpower from a premier installation; our Pecos Trail is yet another shining example of what makes Cannon truly premier.”
In many ways, this food transformation strives to enhance a sense of base community, while improving facilities and efficiency through decreasing operational costs; along with providing enhanced nutritious meals to maintain Cannon and its war-fighting capabilities.
“It has been a long wait as our team worked tirelessly to make food transformation at Cannon a reality, but having toured this facility and eaten lunch here with my fellow commanders I can personally tell you this was well worth the wait,” Gilpin said. “We are diligently working toward creating an environment for our Airmen and families to thrive; I am proud to stand here today as we complete yet another milestone in that journey.”
The Air Force has fed Airmen and their families through traditional dining facilities, clubs and snack bars for more than 60 years; this FTI is said to offer contemporary and exciting dining experiences that are designed to mirror that of college campus style dining. The directive is aimed at enhancing food quality, variety and availability, while focusing on the changing needs, lifestyles and culinary preferences of today’s Airmen.
Renovations at the Pecos Trail Dining Facility began last May. While it was closed, all unaccompanied dorm airmen with meal cards received basic allowance for subsistence to offset food costs. Now that the DFAC has re-opened, Air Commandos are able to use their meal cards at any NAF-operated facility on base; to include places like the Drop Zone’s Tailgate Sports Lounge, Kiosk in Hangar 4609, Chip Shot Dining Room at the golf course, Cannon Lanes snack bar in the bowling center, and Landing Zone.
Along with this change, anyone with base access will now be able to dine in the DFAC; it is no longer restricted to enlisted Airmen or those members on TDY orders.
Cannon has partnered with Sodexo through the FTI to bring executive chefs here who will train food service airmen and challenge their culinary ability. Many of the Sodexo chefs boast more than 25 years of experience at restaurants, resorts and five star dining establishments. Sodexo is a leader in recruiting these kitchen masters from around the globe.
And what will Airmen learn under their tutelage? Things like portion control, recipe reading, batch cooking and knife skills – all geared toward making Cannon’s Air Commandos mission ready to sustain meal services in deployed environments.
“We bring a unique dining experience that promotes healthier eating options and speed of service for our military members,” said Marquix Edwards, Sodexo senior brand manager. “When it comes to food, people have a wide-range of tastes; we are doing what we can to please a wider demographic.”
“And the airmen working in the new facility stand to benefit in the long run too,” she continued. “These airmen will be able to pursuit careers in the food industry such as food management or culinary arts with the skills they are gaining from our chefs.”
For card holders it is important to keep in mind the Essential Station Messing Campus Dining Guidance. This memorandum served to remind Airmen with ESM privileges that they are required to follow and comply with all DOD and Air Force directives including the following:
-ESM customers are authorized up to three meals per day within the authorized basic food costs. Excessive consumption of food (2 burgers, 3 smoothies, 4 burritos) will not constitute a basic food cost for one meal. Airmen on meal cards must self-police and use moderation.
-The purchase of alcoholic beverages or energy drinks is not authorized through ESM.
-ESM customers may only use their ESM entitlement to get meals for themselves. Carry-out meals for individual EMS cardholders are authorized, but count toward the authorized limitations of three meals per day.
-ESM privileges are not extended to attending or participating in special functions or catered events.
-Unauthorized use of ESM privileges can be a criminal offense, and may subject member to disciplinary actions. The 27th SOFSS will monitor each daily transaction and potential violations will be reported to commanders and first sergeants.
“It has been so amazing to see the faces on those who are finally seeing what we have changed here in the dining facility,” said Edwards. “We are going to keep improving the standard of our food service and what we provide here to make the Pecos Trail one of the first choices people make when they think of food at Cannon.”
If members have any additional questions or concerns, they are encouraged to contact the 27th SOFSS Sustainment Services Flight at 575-784-2420.